The ending is totally unexpected and deeply satisfying. But where to go from here? With Hole having been taken to such wounding extremes in Knife, it doesn’t look as if there could be anything left for him to endure. Yet never underestimate Nesbo — he’s a writer with a seemingly endless supply of stories to tell.
If Nesbo initially seems indulgent towards his character, that impression is soon dispelled by the ordeal he has in store, plunging the hung-over detective into the most intensely personal case of his career. As always, the novel is intricately plotted, with sudden twists and startling developments. But it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that Nesbo is putting Hole through the mill to revive a flagging series, while the trite ending jars with the mood of despair that’s gone before.
Blades, unsurprisingly, loom large in Knife: Finne has a collection of 26, including an Indian Rampuri, an Indonesian karambit — shaped like a tiger’s claw — and a Finnish puukko. Nesbø, sharp-witted as ever, keeps the complex, burnished narrative on, um, a knife-edge as Harry, suicidal and sober, tries to find out the horrible truth. Nesbø remains the king of Scandinavian noir.